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Say You're One Of Them Paperback – 5 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349120641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349120645
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 299,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Say You're One of Them gives voice to its children in beautifully crafted prose and stunning detail. Uwem Akpan is a major new literary talent. (Peter Godwin, author of Mukiwa)

Uwem Akpan writes with a politcal fierceness and a humanity so full of compassion it might just change the world. His is a burning talent. (Chris Abani, author of The Virgin of the Flames)

Review

'SAY YOU'RE ONE OF THEM is an absorbing and, at times, disturbing read. Akpan gives voice to African child protagonists from different religious and cultural backgrounds. There is an energy that makes his book compelling . . . an unflinching collection' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tamara C-J on 11 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is not the Africa I know....Akpan depicts an Africa of victims and oppressors...there is no in-between...children are left to fend for themselves and of course the Western world has lapped this up as it no doubt reinforces their one-dimensional view of Africa.
I have lived and travelled all over Africa - and been to all but one of the countries depicted in this book and what I take away time and again are stories of hope and ambition. Many years ago, I worked in Kenya with someone who lived in the Kibera slums, but to look at this well turned out young man with dreams bigger than mine, you would have no idea of his living conditions or that he was surviving on one basic meal a day and supporting a family of 8. Likewise I have heard many stories of national solidarity in Rwanda during and following the 1994 genocide. People who live in poverty in Africa in my experience have dreams and aspirations as big as anyone else's.
The story that carries the book's title and deals with the Rwandan genocide is over simplistic at best....the round dark faced Hutu versus the light Tutsi with fine features....the evil Hutu genocidaires, the apathetic UN soldiers and ofcourse the vengeful Tutsi RPF soldiers - again we find ourselves in a setting where African children have nowhere to turn, no one to save them.

Say you're one of them' depicts an Africa of victims, one where Africans cannot rescue one another because they are all either evil or poor and helpless. I suppose this supposes that we are a continent waiting to be rescued by the benevolent Western world.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. O. P. Akemu on 24 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I bought Say You're One of Them, I had heard the hype about the book. It was supposed to be the work of an original voice from Nigeria - a Catholic priest - who weaved stories about Africa's complexity with the skill of a basket-maker. After reading the book, I am left wondering what all the hype was about.

The book does contain some good stories. My favourite is the eponymous short story, Say You're One of Them. (Spoiler alert: Skip this paragraph if you don't care to know how the story ends.) It is told by a ten-year old middle-class Rwandan girl. Her father is Hutu and her mother Tutsi. The little girl notices her mother dressing up for an evening out--without her father. After mother disappears into the night, her paternal Hutu relatives storm the house looking for her mother. One of the assailants almost rapes the girl. In time, they discover that mother had dressed up only to hide in the ceiling. In the presence of the little girl, Hutu father is forced to kill his Tutsi wife--with one blow of a machete. Finally, the little girl's life is spared. She is let out onto the streets with the admonition from her father: "if they [the Hutu] ask who you are, say you are one of them". I was emotionally shaken by the story; it is as haunting a story as I have ever read.

I cannot say the same for the longest story in the book, Luxurious Hearses. The title of this story is a play on the word, Luxurious Bus, which, in Nigeria, refers to intercity coaches. The story is about Jubril, a Muslim boy with an identity crisis. His mother is from the Muslim north of Nigeria and his father from the Christian South. Jubril, along with other passengers on the bus, is fleeing religious riots in northern Nigeria.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Five short stories focussing on the experiences of young people in different African countries. It's powerful writing that leaves an unforgettable impression: for me the most outstanding and horrifying story was 'Fattening for Gabon' which is narrated by a young boy in Benin. When his uncle and his dodgy friend start telling him and his sister they're going to start a wonderful new life in Gabon, the child gradually realises they're not telling him the whole story...

A child of a mixed marriage in war torn Rwanda...a fraught bus journey south in Nigeria, where a Muslim youth has to conceal his background...a poor Kenyan family faces a wretched rainy Christmas in their shack... Akpani brings home to us the human side of situations that we only see on the news.
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By CassiQ on 29 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was a good read if you're into this kind of literature, it just really wasn't for me. This review is more about the seller than the book.

I ordered the book as "slightly used". What I received was a book with NO cover and a severely damaged spine! Even the part of the cover used to support and protect the spine appeared as if it had been ripped off, leaving torn edges. I couldn't open the book without pages falling out.

It took two emails to get a reply. The first reply was that they would dispatch a copy the next working day. I had to contact them again when no book appeared a week later. They had not dispatched it yet. They knew the urgency of need for this book (I had to read it by a certain date), but they still didn't seem to care.

I asked them how I could return the damaged book they had sent in the first place. Their reply?
"As a sign of good will, you may keep the book and we will still replace it." Oh, how sweet. NOT! A genuine sign of good will would have been an honest reply stating that it wasn't worth my time or effort to send the book back as they had no intention of re-selling it.

Appalling service. I have never had an issue with second-hand books before, and so I believe that this was just the seller I used this time. I understand that mistakes happen, but the obvious discrepancy between the description and the actual product I received, coupled with the customer service, is inexcusable.

Perhaps this was a once-off - I honestly hope so.

If you are going to order pre-loved books, among many other sellers, I would recommend Green Metropolis and ABE Books.
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